Exhibitions/ Art Object

Mosaic Fragment with a Pair of Goats

ca. 535/536
Made in Jordan, ecavated at Khirbat al-Mukhayyat
Colored stone tesserae on a white background
135 1/16 x 124 x 5 7/8 in. (343 x 315 x 15 cm)
Credit Line:
Franciscan Archaeological Institute–Mount Nebo, Custody of the Holy Land
Not on view
Flanking the elaborate palm tree at center are a pair of goats, doves, stylized plants, and two inscriptions. One is possibly the earliest inscription in Arabic ("in peace") in a church. It may also be in Aramaic ("Give repose [and] give salvation"). The other is the Greek name "Saola," probably referring to the archdeacon Saolos, whose name appears in two more inscriptions at the site. The bilingual character of the inscription reflects the multiplicity of peoples living in Byzantium’s southern provinces at the time.
Inscription: [in Greek at right:] Saola; [perhaps in Arabic at left:] in peace
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.